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When the MBA at the University of Birmingham Online was ranked 17th in the world in April it got me thinking about the reasons why students are choosing to study their MBA online and why the provision at the University of Birmingham is so successful.

There is a lot of talk in the media at present sparked by the COVID-19 pandemic around the ‘move to online learning.’ However, for us we have been providing online courses that are on par with what students receive on campus for several years. In fact, in some instances online courses offer students an enhanced experience beyond what they would receive in a physical classroom.

Birmingham Business School’s 100% Online MBA was the first of its kind to receive accreditation from the Association of MBAs (AMBA) and in additional to being ranked 17th in the world by QS, the school was ranked 12th globally for the standard of faculty and teaching.

The official accolades of the course are of course a fantastic draw for students to choose the University of Birmingham Online for their MBA, but what are the other reasons our students choose distance learning?

Build a diverse network of peers

A key reason many students study an MBA is for the business network they will create. Alongside the accelerated career and the knowledge gained, an MBA network is inherited for life. It grants students a cohort of high performing professionals on whom they can draw throughout their lives.

One of the greatest advantages of the online MBA is the diversity of the students on the course. Since inception, the Online MBA at Birmingham Business School has been made up of 67% international students from more than 70 countries. They come from a range of industries covering IT, education, automotive and healthcare, as well as an array of functions including marketing, sales and research. There have been CEOs, CTOs, and directors of companies too.

I often see students and graduates forming close professional relationships as well as friendships, using WhatsApp and other social media to keep in touch and discuss their careers and business problems - even though many of them have never met in person.

The diversity in locations, jobs and backgrounds in online courses means students are working closely with people they may otherwise have not come into contact with, forming bonds that in the future will often open up doors for future business opportunities.

Online MBA cost

Another advantage to distance learning is that an online MBA is typically cheaper than studying on campus because it doesn’t include the additional cost of taking a career break or moving closer to the University. In addition, the fees do not differ if you are studying in the UK, EU or further afield.

Hone skills in digital working

As well as learning online, students are also developing the ability to work confidently in the digital sphere, which mirrors the situation of many global business professionals who collaborate with teams around the world.

During and after the 2020 pandemic remote working is set to increase, as we all adjust to a new way of working. In many cases, even traditional office-based organisations are seeing the benefits of working in the online environment. Our distance learning students are well versed in effectively communicating online and this is, and will continue to be, a very valuable skill in the workplace.

An online degree also hones students’ time management skills in a way that an on-campus degree might not, due to the nature of balancing work, study and social life. 

Enhanced job prospects

Many of our students opt for an MBA to give them a competitive edge in the job market. MBA’s appeal to students who want to move up within their chosen career but also to people who are taking career breaks or looking for the opportunity to develop new businesses. Our MBA course equips our graduates with the skills they need to excel as professionals.

I personally believe that the post-coronavirus job market has the potential to become more competitive, so upskilling via an MBA could give students the edge when it comes to post-pandemic career opportunities.

Develop a competitive skillset

The Online MBA at Birmingham Business School equips students with the language of marketing, sales, accounting and operations as well as the skills needed to communicate with the entire business ecosystem.

With the flood of data and information we are faced with in business today, our teaching gives students the analytical tools they need so they can cut through the noise and make informed business decisions.

The MBA gives students a critical mindset, a way to make sense of a complex and uncertain world. It also gives what I would describe as a ‘helicopter view’ of business. As professionals move up through their organisations, they need to become generalists who understand the language of every part of a successful business, from operations to supply chain and HR.

Studying an MBA can be likened to a jigsaw puzzle, where you learn to fit all these parts together. In my opinion an online course is the perfect way to do it.

Birmingham Business School is dedicated to developing the next generation of global business leaders. If you are looking to take your career further, our Online MBA could help you to achieve it. Find out more by filling out our request for information form or calling our Admissions Team today.

Written by Dr Daniel Chicksand, Director of the Online MBA at Birmingham Business School